Another Now


I continue to learn
that I do well
to welcome
one moment after the next,
to welcome
one now after another now.

Sometimes the now is
found in conversation
over coffee or tea with a friend,
when easy things
are mixed with hard things,
when laughter and tears swim together.

Sometimes the now is
found in quiet,
interrupted only
by a few “hmmmms”
that accompany
thoughtful listening to mystery.

There is hurt
that I know
in departures,
sometimes at the end of coffee
and sometimes,
at the end of touched mystery.

But I continue to learn
from the Zen way
of being that says,
“Everything is connected.
Everything changes.
Pay attention.”

I continue to learn
that these moments
with friends, colleagues, and family
when connection, and change, and attention are animated —
these nows,
fulfill me.

The Brushing Of An Eagle’s Wing

“Time” is one of the things I like to think about most. It’s also one of the things that I like to most not think about. Funny, right.

In my life, I’ve had a strong relationship with “time & efficiency.” Using time well. Getting things done. Being responsible. Being tenacious. It’s a good upbringing for me. It’s parents and grandparents that had to work hard to get by. I’m glad to have this orientation in me. It remains rewarding to me to tick a few things off of my list.

And, these days, likely growing in me over the last several years, perhaps even much longer at the pace of a kalpa described below, I have an increasingly strong relationship with “time & contemplation.” Using spaciousness well. Getting the inner work done. Being willing to look with rigor to how my internal creates my outer world. This is good upbringing also. Thoughtful family and friends that have themselves sought to see what is beyond the obvious. I’m glad to have this orientation too. Increasingly so, it feels foundational.

It feels important to me to be willing or able to have a plurality of relationships with time. I don’t commit myself solely to one or the other — therein lays a danger. I’ve always valued the capacity to move between the worlds. It just takes courage, a unique kind, to interrupt the efficiency side of relating to time.

Below is a piece that I read this morning from the Buddhist publication, Lion’s Roar.

Enjoy the stretch and perspective, for a moment, or with great untimedness.

In traditional Buddhist (as well as Hindu) cosmology, kalpas are unfathomably long periods of time. Though they come in different sizes, even a “regular” kalpa is beyond huge: 16,000,000 years. A “great kalpa” is almost 1,300,000,000,000 years.

Sometimes these enormous lengths of time are described in colorful metaphors, such as:

  • longer than the time it would take to fill a cube that is 16 miles wide and 16 miles high with mustard seeds, at the rate of one mustard seed every 100 years;
  • longer than it would take, at the same once-a-century frequency, for the brushing of an eagle’s wing against a mountain to wear that mountain away;
  • longer than it would take for a turtle (one who appears, again, once every 100 years) to randomly poke its head through a ring floating on the ocean’s surface.

Kalpas relate to the nature of the universe itself, describing immeasurably long cycles of creation and destruction. Like modern science, ancient Buddhist cosmology described a universe of almost infinite size, variety, and duration.

The kalpa is often evoked as an encouragement to spiritual practice, reminding us how rare it is to be born human and to hear the Buddhist teachings. “The dharma,” as one Zen chant puts it, “is rarely encountered, even in hundreds of thousands of millions of kalpas.”

In Journey

I know, aren’t we all. But perhaps, more true for some than others. Or perhaps more deliberate for some than others. Or maybe more acute.

This photo is from a recent gathering I co-hosted at which all were invited to create a “six word” story (or six phrases) to represent how they are. And further, to bring an item or object to help introduce a bit of the story of who they are.

A particular form of journey that I find myself in is my hunger to reclaim the timeless. It’s my hunger for Kairos, not just Chronos.   For spaciousness, not just the precision of short increments stacked on top of each other. It’s pace and the essentialness of wandering. Not just speed and obligatory fulfillment.

The one-minute timer measures time. However, the context that it comes from for me is a men’s group that is timeless. It is one at which anyone is welcome to reach to the center and turn the timer over. It’s purpose is to invite pause. Or reflection. Or quiet.

Even as I write this, I can feel the fullness of my day creeping up upon me, whispering with urgency — “Click publish! Get on to the next! You have a lot to do. Just get it done.” These are patterns deeply ingrained in most of us. Carved like glacial canyons.

I will click publish. But then, I think, just sit quietly for a bit to hold myself in the journey of timeless, just long enough to feel its freedom.

Time and Time Again

I woke up this morning not wanting to look at my clock. Not wanting to jump into my 6:00 routine. Not wanting to jump into the myriad of thoughts that so quickly accompany the beginning of a busy day. I showered. I sad quietly. Lights off. I paid attention to the daylight arriving rather than my ever-ready iPhone. I drummed a bit. Sat some more. Fed my dog. And then wrote these words.


Time and Time Again

Time and time again
I wish I could be outside of time.
I forget how refreshing it is
to be free of cramming
or obligation
or muting an insecurity
into five minute increments.

It’s impressive to do so, I suppose.
It’s also oppressive.
When did this moving train that is time
become runaway?
Oh yah, I guess I have a little to do with that.

Sometimes, some times,
I give myself permission
to be outside of time.
I know it’s a perceptual trick
but it has tremendous value
and feels really cool.
I don’t look at the clocks.
I don’t look at my phone.

When I do this,
outside of time,
I remember, only then,
how much I needed it,
and wonder, again,
how could I ever have forgotten this.
Like quiet, spring sun
warming and relaxing every cell in my face.

I crave challenging myself
into not just five minutes of this
and not just a morning,
but a day, or a week —
to return to what I know inside of me as
a different clock (the paradigm is pervasive isn’t it)
and rhythm.

To be fair, my tether to being outside of time,
often, is to set an alarm.
I have a commitment at 9:00.
Setting an alarm for 8:45 is important.
Yet it is very different — this one time alarm,
and me not tracking when it will ring —
than checking my watch, phone,
my computer or microwave oven
to reassure me of not misusing time.

I am for being on time.
Good system.

I am not for having the timeless part of me
enslaved and confined.
I am not for this in any of us.
Chronos, yes respect it.
Kairos, equally so.
Practice it.
And periodically insist upon it.

I don’t want my life, our lives, to become
a production line in which
the parts keep coming incessantly
and I fear them overflowing onto the floor
if I turn away for even a moment
to feel the sun.

Time and time again
I yearn to be timeless.
To take off my clothes and adornments,
that dress up the cultural pattern
of speed and efficiency.
I yearn to return to a more naked state of being
the watch put aside
the calendar tucked away
the forethought and planning suspended
to instead, hear the sparrow’s chirp
outside my window
that goes largely unheard because
I’m so committed to time.

Time and time again,
I hunger to remember timeless.
It too, is who I am,
and who we are.